Posted By BRUCE URQUHART, SENTINEL-REVIEW
Posted March 11, 2010
The budget presentations by the chairs of the city’s advisory committees didn’t provoke much of a response from councillors.
With most of the committees asking for same amount as last year — and the total amount representing about 0.002% of the levy — there wasn’t really much of a reason for councillors to take out their red pens. Except for a few questions about the nature of conferences and symposiums and the purpose of promotional budgets, councillors seemed content with what was asked.
Overall, the estimated total committees budget for 2010 actually dropped from $87,150 in 2009 to $86,690.
The $22,500 requested by WinterLights was the most of any city advisory committee but was $6,500 less than its 2009 budget. The chair of the committee, Anne Keeley-Meloche, said a good chunk of the committee’s budget would be invested in new displays for the island in Southside Park and Museum Square.
“Hopefully that will all come to fruition,” she told council at Tuesday’s meeting.
The city’s accessibility advisory committee was next on the list, with a request for $16,300. A slight increase from 2009, almost half of the requested
amount was pegged for conferences. Committee chair Scott Mac- Donald explained the increase in the conference portion of his budget as a result of the
barrier- free standards mandated by 2025 by the provinces Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Because of the training required to learn about the legislation’s compulsory standards, MacDonald said committee members needed to attend these seminars. To be frugal, MacDonald explained how the committee planned to send one representative, who would then be responsible for training their committee colleagues.
The accessibility advisory committee also had $3,500 earmarked for a public education campaign, which MacDonald described as central to its mandate.
“Anything that gets the public educated as much as possible,” he told council.
As for the remaining committees — Heritage Woodstock and the groups for recreation, the environment, the art gallery, economic development and city beautification — their requested 2010 budgets ranged from $3,000 to just over $13,000.
The one significant change from previous years was that, instead of councillors simply reading requests off the page, committee chairs made brief presentations and offered to answer any relevant questions.
Despite the requests for 2010, the city’s advisory committees often don’t spend their entire budgets, leaving small surpluses for the ensuing year. Unless a committee makes a specific request, this unspent money is returned to the city’s general surplus.
Article ID# 2487088